The Democratic Party, locked in a power struggle between liberals and progressives, has more to fear from the rise of a third-party candidate in 2020 than the GOP, according to a newly released poll.
An icitizen survey released Monday found that most Democrats — 60 percent — were likely to consider voting for a third-party presidential candidate in three years, compared with just 29 percent of Republicans.
Among unaffiliated voters, the figure was 76 percent.
The online survey of 1,176 adults, which weighted responses to align with U.S. Census demographic benchmarks, comes with the Democratic Party establishment grappling with its rising left wing.
That split was exemplified by the hard-fought 2016 presidential primary between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, a progressive favorite.
“With news of a petition to ‘Draft Bernie [Sanders] For President,’ many groups are looking to create a new party and make a run in 2020,” said the icitizen analysis.
The poll had good news for Berniecrats, Libertarians and Greens: 70 percent of those surveyed agreed that third parties are necessary and that the two major parties “do not represent them well.”
“Poll results suggest that an overall majority of Americans, including Democrats and Republicans, are looking for more representation of Americans’ views and are likely to give a third party candidate a chance in 2020,” said icitizen director of polling Cynthia Villacis in a statement.
While U.S. third-party presidential candidates have fought to gain relevance, they have also been credited with playing spoiler roles in at least two recent elections.
Running as the Reform Party candidate, Texas businessman Ross Perot helped doom President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 re-election bid, while Green Party candidate Ralph Nader may have siphoned votes from Democrat Al Gore Jr. in 2000.
The poll found sentiment for third parties was strongest among young voters: Fully 84 percent of voters 18-34 said they believed a third political party was necessary.
The icitizen survey was conducted between June 14-16 among icitizen users, with a margin of error of 2.86 percentage points.
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